Northern Illinois University (NIU) Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Northern Illinois University (NIU)

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a large, public institution situated in Dekalb, Illinois. NIU has a 13 to 1 student/faculty ratio, and high-achieving students should check out the institution’s Honors Program with its small classes and opportunities for independent research. The College of Business does well in national rankings and is extremely popular among undergraduates. Chemistry is also strong, but the institution has popular programs in various majors across the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The institution offers 57 undergraduate majors and 71 minors. At the graduate level, students can select from 80 programs. Campus life is robust, and with over 300 student organizations and clubs, the institution provides plenty of opportunities for undergraduates to get involved. In athletics, the  Northern Illinois University Huskies play in the NCAA Division I Mid-American Conference.


  • Total Enrollment: 17,169 (12,788 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 50% Male/50% Female
  • 88% Full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $14,610 (in-state)
  • Books: $1,400
  • Room and Board: $10,880
  • Other Expenses: $2,220
  • Total Cost: $29,110 (in-state)

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of Students Receiving Aid: 95%
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 90%
    • Loans: 72%
  • Mean Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $8,809
    • Loans: $7,271

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Accounting; Speech Communication and Rhetoric; Psychology, General; Health/Medical Preparatory Programs, Other; and Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 73%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 24%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 46%

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Wrestling
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Overview of Northern Illinois University (NIU) Admissions

With an acceptance rate of 54 percent, Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a moderately selective school. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the application process’s next steps. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.

Admissions Data                        

  • Northern Illinois University Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Test Scores — 25th/75th Percentile
    • SAT Critical Reading: 490/600
    • SAT Math: 480/590
    • SAT Writing: -/-
    • ACT Cumulative: 19/25
    • ACT English: 18/25
    • ACT Math: 18/25
    • ACT Writing: -/-

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Northern Illinois University, it should be easy to gain admissions to the schools below. If Northern Illinois University is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Liberty University, University of Texas at El Paso, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, California State University Sacramento, California State University Northridge, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, California State University East Bay

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Northern Illinois University, you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

Hampton University, Washington State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, East Carolina University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Texas State University

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Northern Illinois University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, you’ll be a competitive candidate.

University of Arizona, University of Alabama, Colorado State University, Quinnipiac University, Ohio University, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington

Applying to Northern Illinois University

Application Deadline: August 1

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:

Graduate Application Link(s):

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